Securing Covers on Low Tunnels

Tags: winter gardening, season extension, Cindy Conner, Virginia

 low tunnel-fall greens

Building low tunnels that are about 30 inches tall to protect your crops through weather that is outside of their comfort zone is fairly easy to do using plastic pipe and plastic sheeting. You will find directions for this at Homeplace Earth. The tricky part is securing the covers. I have seen directions to make the cover with enough plastic sheeting on each end to draw it together to tie to a post in the ground. Sometimes the design calls for simply gathering the extra….

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  1. I use something a little different. On the Oregon Coast, we have wind and rain. With the above design, the wind would blow the ‘sockets’ holding the hoops when the ground was thoroughly soaked. I made raised beds with cheap ‘rough-cut’ lumber measuring about 2X8 or 2×10. Then I attached 1.25″ ‘pvc sockets’. The 3/4″ Schedule 40 PVC fits loosely but securely into the sockets. No wind will blow this over unless it’s too high. It’s easy to change hoops this way, a necessity when going from tomatoes one year to lettuce the next year.
    Deer netting can be used when necessary.
    I use 1 x 2’s nailed to 2×2’s to sandwich the ends of the plastic so it’s easy to open and close…much easier than untying or un-clamping the plastic film.
    Here are some examples…including a drip water grid